Cops are hunting a man caught on tape moments after an SUV packed with enough fuel, fertilizer and explosives to ignite a massive fireball was abandoned in Times Square.
“The intent was to cause a significant ball of fire,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Sunday. “It’s a sobering reminder that New York is clearly a target for people who want to come here and do us harm.”
Security cameras captured a white man who appears to be in his 40s leaving the scene near the bomb-laden Nissan Pathfinder on W. 45th St. – engine running, hazard lights flashing and smoke curling from its vents. On the video, the man takes off a dark shirt to reveal a red one underneath as he hurries along Shubert Alley.
“He looks around, takes off that shirt, puts it in a bag and continues to walk south, looking a couple of times in a furtive manner,” Kelly said. A Pennsylvania tourist who was videotaping mounted cops in Times Square reported he also may have filmed the suspect “lunging” away from the car – and NYPD detectives went to check his film, Kelly said.
Inside the SUV, cops found dozens of M-88 firecrackers, three tanks of BBQ-style propane, two red plastic jugs of gasoline and a metal locker densely packed with eight supermarket bags of fertilizer.
The whole thing was wired to two cheap yellow old-fashioned travel alarm clocks set to work in tandem – one blowing up the propane tanks and the other exploding the contents of the locker.
Kelly said experts are investigating why the bomb didn’t detonate.